Retired Archbishop Weakland of Milwaukee dies at age 95
Retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland, 95, who was the ninth archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 until his retirement in 2002, died overnight at Clement Manor in Greenfield, Wisconsin, after a long illness, the archdiocese announced Aug. 22. “During his time, he emphasized an openness to the implementation of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, including the role of lay men and women in the church, the celebration of the sacred liturgy, ecumenical dialogue and addressing societal issues, especially economic justice,” said Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki. A cloud hung over Archbishop Weakland in 2002 when he retired as Milwaukee’s archbishop. He submitted his resignation to St. John Paul II in April when he turned 75, the age canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation to the pope. The following month news broke of a 1998 archdiocesan settlement with a man named Paul Marcoux, who had accused the prelate of sexual abuse. Archbishop Weakland acknowledged he had had an improper relationship with Marcoux in 1979 but denied Marcoux’s claim that he had been sexually assaulted. The archdiocese made a $450,000 payment to Marcoux to settle his claim.
Death-row inmate executed by lethal injection
Ahead of Oklahoma’s execution of death-row inmate James Allen Coddington Aug. 25, the Diocese of Tulsa joined calls by a coalition of faith leaders and others for the Oklahoma governor to commute his death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But an announcement midday Aug. 24 said Gov. Kevin Stitt rejected clemency for Coddington, 50, who was sentenced to death in 2003 for killing a 73-year-old man with a hammer in 1997 when the inmate was 24. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City was among those who had urged Stitt to commute Coddington’s death sentence.
Foreign Ministry summons nuncio over papal comments on car bomb
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Pope Francis’ ambassador to Ukraine, to express disappointment about papal comments regarding the death of Darya Dugina, a 29-year-old commentator with a nationalist Russian TV channel. In an Aug. 25 briefing, Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba told journalists that summoning a nuncio to the ministry was unprecedented. He said more details about the meeting would be forthcoming. At the end of his general audience talk in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 24, six months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis repeated his calls for peace and spoke of how so many people were affected by war. As an example, the pope spoke of “that poor girl flown into the air because of a bomb under her car seat in Moscow. The innocent pay for war. The innocent.” While the pope did not identify the person by name, Vatican News confirmed the pope was referring to the Aug. 20 killing of Dugina. She served as press secretary for her father, Alexander Dugin — an anti-communist, ultranationalist philosopher calling for Russia to reclaim its former territories. Some reports speculated the father may have been the intended target of the attack.
Four kidnapped nuns released, says order
Four Catholic nuns kidnapped in southeast Nigeria Aug. 21 were released two days later, their order said. Fides, information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, identified the four as Sisters Johannes Nwodo, Christabel Echemazu, Liberata Mbamalu and Benita Agu, members of the Sisters of Jesus the Savior. The four nuns were abducted while traveling from Rivers state to Imo state for a thanksgiving Mass when they were kidnapped. Kidnappings for ransom have been common in northwestern Nigeria but are starting to spread to other areas of the country.
Top photo: Retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee enters St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Milwaukee March 29, 2009. (CNS photo/Sam Lucero)